Friday, 10 April 2015

Romantic Tarot Overview

The Romantic Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2015) is another in the line of 'artistic' decks.  The artwork is quite lovely, and the deck is fairly readable, so long as you either use your own set meanings or are willing to take a non-traditional, intuitive approach to the cards.  It doesn't obviously follow traditional RWS concepts, and even where these can be read into the cards, it's sometimes a stretch.  Not great as a beginner's deck, therefore.

The card stock is a little thicker than older Lo Scarabeo decks: seems to be something new they are doing this year, as the same is true of the Mucha Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2015).  Still, it shuffles easily and well, and feels durable.

As for the cards, I went through the deck looking for cards I was especially taken with, or particularly surprised by (not always pleasantly).  There were a lot more in the latter category.  

The suit of Pentacles, in particular, seems very far from traditional interpretations.  Perhaps because the practical, hard-working Pentacles weren't seen as particularly romantic?  Still, it makes these cards more challenging/interesting to read.  For instance, there are two children on a hay wagon in the Two of Pentacles, in a card that seems more reminiscent of the feel of the Six of Cups.

However, it isn't only the Pentacles that are discombobulating.  The Two of Swords shows a stone heart with two swords piercing it and a red sash!  The Three of Swords, meanwhile, shows a man lying bleeding on the floor, with a woman leaning over him, upset, and another man just behind them. 

Not all the cards are odd in this way.  I rather like this Hierophant, for instance, with a priest speaking from an ornately decorated pulpit, and holding a flower in his hand.  Not sure if it's a lily...

The Knight of Cups is a good representation of the Courts.  They are easily distinguishable, and mostly quite close to traditiona notions, though with less pomp and more Venetian masked-ball to them.  The only exception is the Pages.  Although they are clear and have appropriate symbolism, they all seem rather old to be pages, sporting moustaches and beards in most cases!

Another thing I quite like about this deck is the way it has very consciously gone for an architectural, Venetian feel.  There is far less of nature than in many decks, the RWS included.  While I love nature decks, this makes an interesting change.  So, for instance, the Ace of Cups is a fountain within an enclosure.  There is still the symbolism of overflowing water, and even the dove descending from above.  And the gates in front are open, after all, love cannot flow freely unless our heart is open!

The Three of Pentacles fits more with the idea of work (or at least effort) than with teamwork.  Three women look on as a man tries to prove his strength, or perform a feat of magic.  I'm left unsure whether his hat and shirt are thrown aside because of the heat of his exertions, or to create a better spectacle.  It adds some interesting nuances to the concept of why we work and whether we work with others or to show off our own skills...

Some interesting cards, then, and a deck that opens to intuitive reading.  It won't be a deck for everyone, and those who generally don't get on with Lo Scarabeo decks are unlikely to find anything of appeal, yet if you like the artwork...


  1. Interesting, Chloe. I saw the cards on one of those 'show all' sites. I was interested to begin with, but somewhere down the line, it lost me. I can't remember where or why. I like your interpretation of the Ace of Cups and I enjoy Venetian imagery (I have a Lo Scarabeo Venetian playing card deck) though. The artwork is attractive (also like the Mucha) but there is something about the colours and features on the people which doesn't readily pull me in.

    1. Yes, it doesn't really do it for me, either. Ah well...

  2. When I saw the Three of Pentacles, I noticed the women tittering at the shirtless, muscled man. Made me think of a group of women going to see the Chippendales (male dancers); now that would have made a great Three of Cups card! :D

    1. Ha ha, oh yes, I hope someone does that card in a deck someday!